You’re walking down the street when suddenly everything around you starts to spin. You feel off balance and a little startled. You worry you might pass out as you reach for something to stabilize you. There are many reasons why someone may start to feel dizzy or lightheaded. While occasional dizziness does happen, if you find yourself dealing with these nasty spinning bouts more often than not then you may want to turn to an otolaryngologist to find out if there could be a problem within the ears that could be affecting your balance.
Sure, there are a ton of other reasons why you may be dizzy. Perhaps you are prone to motion sickness and just getting into a car has you feeling lightheaded. Maybe you have low blood pressure, so you are prone to these unpleasant episodes. Of course, there are also quite a few ear disorders and issues that could lead to dizziness such as:
- Inner ear inflammation: If you get sudden bouts of vertigo along with hearing loss then you may be dealing with inflammation in the inner ear, which requires immediate medical attention.
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV): This is the most common type of vertigo that people experience. This intense spinning sensation occurs when you jerk the head suddenly in a certain direction.
- Labyrinthitis: This viral infection affects the outer wall of the inner ear, known as the labyrinth.
- Vestibular neuritis: Another viral infection that causes the vestibular nerve to become inflamed.
- Meniere’s disease: If you experience ringing in the ears (tinnitus) along with severe vertigo, then your vertigo could be caused by Meniere’s disease.
How an Otolaryngologist treats your dizziness will depend on the root cause of your symptoms. We will need to perform a thorough physical evaluation and also discuss all of the symptoms you’ve been experiencing before reaching a diagnosis. If you have Meniere’s disease you may receive two different kinds of treatments, one to handle your bouts of vertigo and another to lessen the frequency of your symptoms.
There are also certain exercises we can give you to train the brain to overcompensate if you are having inner ear problems. Rehabilitation therapy may be one of the best options for reducing the frequency and severity of your vertigo. In some cases where therapy and other treatments aren’t working or the vertigo is severe, your ENT doctor may recommend surgery to correct structural problems within the ear that could be leading to your vertigo.